2005_06_gaypride.jpgMuch to the delight of gay and straight New Yorkers, yesterday's steamy weather meant that there was more reason for marchers in the Gay Pride Parade to go shirtless. If you were downtown, everywhere people would turn there was bound to be a fairly naked, glistening body. New Yorkers enjoyed themselves, and some noted how the parade has become "mainstreamed." The parade was started as to mark the Stonewall uprising in 1969, and some who marched in the first pride parade 36 years ago marched again yesterday.

In the political contingent, Mayor Bloomberg marched, as did Senator Charles Schumer, Reverend Al Sharpton, Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum and a bevy of Democratic mayoral candidates: Fernando Ferrer, Manhattan Beep C. Virginia Fields, and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. The Mayor said, "The gay pride parade is a chance for lots of New Yorkes to express themselves and lots of people on the sideline to have fun." However, the Mayor has declined to perform gay marriages in the city (or simply give out licenses for them) because they are illegal in NY State - and there's no way Pataki or the Republican-controlled State Senate will change the law anytime soon. The Mayor, who has been supportive of gay rights, has a mixed record with his policy; he's extended benefits to partners of city employees but opposed a law that would require companies the city works with to do the same. The Democratic candidates have more latitude to challenge the Mayor, though Ferrer will probably tread lightly, in order not to offend some more traditional voters in his base.

There's a wonderful set of NYC Pride Parade pictures from drierp on Flickr. And the NY Times had a feature on the Park Slope "queer-oriented but straight friendly" ladies' lounge, Cattyshack.

Photograph from the AP